Beware of Discount Steam Keys! we were charged a fee by the card issuer for the charge-back. For these 1,341 keys, these fees totalled around $30,000. This information not normally publicly revealed and we feel people need to be made more aware. From our discussions with Valve, We understand that this is not an unusual situation.

Posted by SgtBarlow on Mar 8th, 2013

When stolen Credit card data is used to buy steam keys, The keys sold on steam key discount sites are purchased by a consumer.What happens next is the unauthorised purchase is disputed by the account holder. Now the Service Steam Key associated to the original stolen card purchase before it was resold is now invalid and deactivated because it has not been legitimately paid for, the money has been refunded to the original card holder.The person who bought the stolen key has to get their money back from the bad retailer via Charge-Back by contacting their card issuer by disputing the matter to them.

Recently we asked Valve to deactivate 1,341 Steam keys that were purchased through our website. As a result, some Natural Selection 2 players who were previously able to play the game on Steam are now receiving a “Buy Again” option instead of the “Play” option. This episode is a prime example of why all gamers need to beware discount steam keys and those offering them.
We deactivated these keys because they keys were purchased with credit cards where the card-holder initiated a “charge-back.” A charge-back is a consumer protection mechanism offered by payment companies such as Visa, allowing a card-holder to dispute a charge on their credit card statement. This means we never received payment for the game. In fact, we were charged a fee by the card issuer for the charge-back. For these 1,341 keys, these fees totalled around $30,000.
Right now there are only two official places to buy Natural Selection 2; through Steam or through our website via the Humble Store (The Humble Store option is temporarily disabled due to this issue). If you see Natural Selection 2 available anywhere else — like the many sites out there that sell Steam keys at a discount — then you are not buying it from us and there is no way to know if that key is legitimate. As as result, we strongly discourage purchasing from these sites.
If we offer Natural Selection 2 from other stores in future, we will make a news post informing you of the legitimacy of that store. You can always find an up to date list of authorised stores right here.

We don’t know how exactly these sites obtain their Steam keys. It seems likely that they were originally obtained from our store using stolen credit card information. Keys were then sold through a handful of questionable sites to people using legitimate credit cards. The owner of the stolen credit card ultimately disputed the charge and we lost the sale. In total, we lose ~$45 per transaction of this kind, due to the charge-back fee (~$22 fee + $25 game price). Meanwhile, the unauthorized key reseller kept the money from the player who ultimately received the bad key.

If your key was deactivated, we recommend you contact the site you purchased it from for a full refund. It’s unfortunate that players who believed they were buying legitimate games were hurt by these unscrupulous resellers.

Please comment and read-up on our discussion forums about this topic here: Community Forums

Post comment Comments
Milanium Mar 8 2013, 1:50pm says:

Any news on hunting those internet criminals down? Is a cyber security squad from federal police helping? They need to be caught otherwise this will never stop.

-1 votes     reply to comment
Acetyl Mar 9 2013, 1:50am replied:

I just called the cyber police.

They're on the case.

+9 votes     reply to comment
ExecutorTassadar Mar 9 2013, 4:57am replied:

Did you dial 00111001 00110001 00110001?

+7 votes     reply to comment
Rhyl3yMaster Mar 10 2013, 3:17am replied:

I got Robo Cop on the way!

+3 votes     reply to comment
yourgrandma Mar 9 2013, 4:51pm replied:

the consequences will never be the same

+5 votes     reply to comment
AydinDubstep Mar 8 2013, 3:16pm says:

Man that sucks! Had no idea this was going on =(

+4 votes     reply to comment
icantfly1 Mar 9 2013, 11:13am says:

****, thats a lot of money for a small indie developer.
The best of luck to you guys!

+4 votes     reply to comment
L0K Mar 9 2013, 5:28pm says:

I still haven't used my key. Looks like a great game I just haven't got the hardware to run it =(

+2 votes     reply to comment
Vcc2cc Mar 9 2013, 10:48pm says:

That is sad. Always use Steam or the official website.

I am sorry UWE, that you had to lose money on this. Especially because you're one of the "mom and pops" type of companies doing what they like and being able to get paid is the bonus.

+3 votes     reply to comment
Hell_Diguner Mar 13 2013, 6:06pm says:

Wow, thanks for putting the PSA out. It's really unfortunate this kind of fraud steals money from so many entities.

+1 vote     reply to comment
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